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The Future of Blended Learning

Not long ago the concept of blended learning typically meant formal instructor-led training combined with self-paced e-learning. Now it includes both formal and informal methods delivered in a variety of modes.

The widespread use of mobile technologies cannot be ignored, and now the trend is for on-demand and just-in-time (JIT) learning. Microlearning is also increasing in importance: while millennials are often cited as the reason for the rise in microlearning, it is a very effective learning mechanism that has been happening informally in the workplace for years.

Vendors focused on providing learning services are shortening modules from one hour to twenty minutes, which is also sometimes broken down even further into several five minute modules, with information overload in mind and retention as the goal.

All these developments in the learning space call into question the appropriate mix of learning modes. So what will the future of blended learning look like?

Intrepid Learning Inc. (Intrepid) is betting that corporate MOOCs will be part of the future blended environment. In late 2014, Intrepid sold its learning BPO (LBPO) business to Xerox Services with the exception of its two cloud-based learning products, and subsequently relaunched itself as an independent technology company. 

Intrepid has had good success to date with its technology-focused offerings.  After launching its corporate MOOC in late 2013, Intrepid’s priority was to implement it within its existing LBPO client base. Now with a growing list of clients, including Microsoft, which has three corporate MOOCs, Intrepid is focused on making product enhancements, including adding additional language capabilities, which will be essential to Intrepid’s future success with companies in other countries who are looking to implement a localized product.

Prior to its relaunch, Intrepid’s LBPO business was primarily focused on the U.S., and while it is still targeting U.S.-based MNCs, it is also attracting the attention of companies headquartered elsewhere.

To date, Microsoft is Intrepid’s best example of providing one of its corporate MOOCs globally, with aproximately 50% of its learners located in Europe, 30% in APAC, and 20% in North America. 

Obviously corporate MOOCs won’t replace other methods of learning, but they will expand the options available for delivering learning and training. The reality is that people learn differently.  Organizations looking to increase the effectiveness of their training will create the highest probability of success by implementing a variety of methods to accommodate all types of learners.  Corporate MOOCs, gamification, simulations and virtual worlds are just some methods that can be implemented with more traditional training mechanisms to make learning more effective and increase retention, which should be the main goal of any training.

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